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Being wrongfully terminated by an employer is illegal, and employees in Indiana have the right to challenge the action. Wrongfully fired employees may seek justice by seeking a reversal of the dismissal or a change to company policy. Reparations for a wrongful dismissal may be available through the proper authorities.

Learning what is a wrongful termination can be useful for employees trying to identify if their situations meet the qualifications for a wrongful dismissal. Former employees who suspect they fit the criteria for a wrongful termination can research employment laws to verify eligibility and a cause of action.

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, you will need to follow specific legal steps to pursue a case. To learn more about unlawful termination and employees’ legal options in the courtroom, we have provided helpful information below:

  • Types Of Illegal Termination in Indiana
  • Types Of Legal Termination in Indiana
  • At-Will Employment Exceptions in Indiana
  • Filing a Discrimination Charge With The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Indiana
  • Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Indiana

Indiana Unemployment Resources

Types of Illegal Termination in Indiana

Federal and state employment laws name specific types of unlawful terminations, and employers that violate these laws can be held responsible through the appropriate channels. These laws protect workers from discriminatory or retaliatory actions from employers.

Some of these types of illegal termination in Indiana occur when an employer discriminates against an employee for:

  • Age (older than 40 years of age).
  • Disability.
  • Ethnicity, race or color.
  • Gender identity and sexual orientation, including pregnancy.
  • Military status.
  • Nationality.
  • Religion.

Another discriminatory type of unlawful termination is firing a worker based on retaliation. Other types of illegal dismissal of employment include when employers terminate an employee because they filed a legal claim against the organization or they are receiving benefits, such as worker’s compensation.

If employees can prove their employer terminated their employment based on one of these types of illegal firing, they may have a cause of action to pursue a lawsuit and compensation.

Types of Legal Termination in Indiana

Not all terminations violate federal and Indiana employment laws. Employers have legal reasons for terminating workers. Some types of legal terminations of employment include dismissing a worker because:

  • Of deteriorating job performance.
  • They are at the end of the employee’s contract.
  • Of misconduct, such as actions that go against company policy.
  • The company is closing.
  • The business is experiencing layoffs.

Although employees terminated for these types of legal dismissals may still undergo the same damaging financial and professional problems, they do not have the grounds to seek legal action against their former employers since no employment laws were broken.

However, former employees who were dismissed from work through no fault of their own may have other options, such as filing for unemployment insurance benefits.

At-Will Employment Exceptions in Indiana

The at-will employment law can influence what the state considers a legal or illegal dismissal. So, what is employment at will? The law acknowledges the connection between an employee and employer and that either party can terminate the working relationship at any time for any lawful reason.

Is Indiana an at will state? While the state of Indiana observes the at-will employment law, there are exceptions. The two exceptions to at-will employment include:

  • The covenant of good faith and fair dealing exception, which declares that all employers treat their employees fairly and with good intentions.
  • The public-policy exception, which makes it illegal for an employer to fire a worker if it violates a public policy.

Indiana does not recognize the implied-contract exception, which is the allowance of firing an employee when there is no active contract in place.

Employers in Indiana do not need a good reason to terminate a worker’s employment as long as it is not illegal. Likewise, workers can resign, retire, or otherwise leave employment for any or no reason.

Filing a Discrimination Charge With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Indiana

Employees can file a wrongful termination discrimination or retaliation charge by submitting a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC can give workers comprehensive information on how to file a charge of employment discrimination or retaliation charge.

Former employees checking the methods how to file an EEOC employment discrimination can do so by phone, mail or online within 180 days of the incident. When the process starts, the agency contacts the former worker and their former employer for more detailed information to investigate the claim.

The EEOC claim process can have different outcomes. After filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC successfully, the agency will either:

  • Attempt to settle the claim.
    • The EEOC may suggest a mediation program between the former employee and employer to settle the case out of court in approximately three months.
    • The EEOC may attempt a voluntary settlement on the employee’s behalf with their previous employer.
  • Reject your claim due to a lack of evidence or missing the filing deadline.

The EEOC may grant the employee a Notice of Right to Sue their former employer in a court of law if neither mediation nor a voluntary settlement is successful. The employee must receive the Notice of Right to Sue by the EEOC before they attempt to file a lawsuit against their former employer.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Indiana

Former workers may ask themselves “Can I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination against my previous employer?” after being forced to leave their employment. To file a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, employees may need to research the federal and Indiana employment laws as well as gather evidence of their claim.

The former employee is responsible for proving the firing was illegal through evidence, which may include:

  • Testimonials from co-workers.
  • Documentation of interactions.

Suing for wrongful termination in Indiana requires tactical legal arguments and a fair compensation demand. The process for how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit may be simpler with legal aid, such as help from an experienced lawyer.

Last Updated: October 19, 2022